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11 Commandments for Accurate Back of Pack Labelling

Just like a coin has two sides, so does packaging!

The front of it is where you can portray your brand image, show special offers or let your graphic designer express themselves to produce a fantastic layout.

On the other hand, it’s the back of the packaging that conveys relevant and useful information about the product and helps consumers to make mindful purchases.

Thus, the importance of the other side of the coin cannot be downplayed; it actually sheds light on whether the product has what the customer wants, thus helping in the purchase of the product.

Back of Pack Labelling Influences Buying Behaviour

When the customer holds a food product, they can clearly see the ingredients, nutritional information, and if there are any added flavours. This affects their thought process of what they want to consume, based on their dietary needs.

In fact, in a survey published by the International Food Information Council Foundation, 59% of first-time consumers always read the labels on packaged food products. 48% look for additional symbols and stamps like the heart-check symbol, the whole grain stamp.

Back of pack food labelling survey by International Food Information Council Foundation
Results of back of pack food labelling survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation

At least the top five indicators of healthfulness that customers most often zoom in on are present on the back of the packaging.

Which is why food brands need to be extra careful and follow some crucial commandments when crafting the back of the packaging.

11 Commandments For Back Of Pack Labelling

Since customers refer to the back of pack labelling for essential product information, food brands should optimize that space by following the guidelines given by the concerned authorities.

Here are 11 commandments that brands should stick by for crafting an accurate and authentic back of pack labelling:

1. Mention The List Of Ingredients

Down to the one that is present in the least amount of quantity possible. Customers use this list to decipher whether their would-be-purchase has the nutrition they need. Brands can provide them with this information through a well-detailed list at the back.

How It Helps Customers:

The customers need this information to know what they are consuming with the product. It can be something specific such as a sugar-free sweetener Stevia.

Creative representation of the list of ingredients on Stevia's back of pack labelling.
(Source: revelldesign)

From the above example, you can see how clearly and individually the ingredients have been mentioned.

A funny connotation has also been used - Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, and the brand candidly apologises that there is no alcohol in this product. This is a brilliant idea and adds a creative streak to an otherwise bland packaging.

It will help your overall brand image and identity if you add these unique elements in a minimalistic way. At the end of the day, it’s all about standing apart from the crowd and competitor brands. So, why not make use of this space?

Pro Tip: If there is a key ingredient in your product, make sure to specifically point it out. It can be highlighted or put in a separate space of its own for it to be visible.

2. Specify Nutritional Information

Customers might wonder...

How much fat is in it? Will there be enough carbohydrates? I work out, will I be able to get adequate protein from this? I need a keep-up, something with high calories will do the job.

How It Helps Customers:

Once again, the topic of health consciousness comes up, and it’s for a good reason. Customers are becoming aware as to what they consume. 72% of people check the nutrition label as it helps them in seeing what a specific product has - in terms of nutritional value.

All such questions can be answered quickly by looking at the nutritional information on the back of pack labelling. That’s why brands must incorporate this rule for transparency.

Did You Know: Recently, it's been proven that customers opt for products with traffic light labelling as it clearly shows them the nutritional information, creating a friction-free customer experience.

3. Declare Food Additives

The commandment dictates that brands should declare the food additives they are using in their products on the back of pack labelling.

How It Helps Customers:

It’s the right of the customers that they should know the additives companies are using. These might be for the preservation of food, flavour addition, or texture maintenance.

Irrespective of that, brands have to give detailed information for all the preservatives to make sure that there is no ambiguity with their ingredients.

4. Check Mandatory Symbols

The sole purpose of this guideline is to convey it to the customer any relevant information. These symbols can be regarding the product or the packaging. For instance, in India, products need to display the Vegetarian (green) symbol and Non-Vegetarian (red) symbol. A recycle symbol conveys that the product can be recycled.

How It Helps Customers:

Customers have different tastes and food habits. Many specifically look for vegetarian or vegan food products. Having the veg/non-veg symbol on the back of pack labelling helps them make a conscious purchase. Nowadays, with campaigns centred around environment-friendly products, the recycle symbol assures the customer.

Did You Know: FSSAI has changed the symbol of vegetarian food. From a green circle, it has now been shifted to a green triangle. This is to help colour blind people distinguish it from the brown circle denoting non-veg food.

5. Display Valid Accreditations

Displaying the logo of accreditations showcases the credibility of the product and the brand, making this one of the most important rules. In India, FSSAI establishes laws to regulate product quality.

How It Helps Customers:

Consumers are more likely to trust the product as well as the brand if they see an accreditation label. They will be aware that this product has gone through a series of standardised tests before coming to the market.

For new brands that are looking to make a mark, the FSSAI logo is a boon. Customers who aren’t aware of your name can still trust you once they see the logo on the back of pack labelling.

Pro Tip: Try placing this logo underneath the nutritional information, as it correlates with that section.

6. Provide Manufacturer Details

Displaying the name and complete address of the manufacturer opens up a channel for communication.

How It Helps Customers:

The manufacturer’s name gives authenticity to the product and sets it apart from counterfeit products. Also, if a product needs to be returned or the customer wants to give their feedback to the brand, the full address of the manufacturer will come handy.

Feedback helps the company understand what their consumer wants and implement the changes.

Get Accurate Back of Packaging, Everytime - Try Artwork Flow for FREE

7. Specify Net Quantity

As a quality control or packaging manager, the weight of your product needs to be absolutely correct. This does not include the weight of the package, container or wrapper.

How It Helps Customers:

Sometimes it is not easy to infer how much a particular product weighs due to their size or their shape. For the buying customer, it’s always ideal to see the net weight on product labelling so that they can purchase only the required quantity.

Pro Tip: Mention the net weight or quantity in both grams and OZ. Different customers understand different units of measurement.

8. Mention Production Details

When it comes to the production of food products, Batch Number, Code Number or Lot Number are marks of identification. Through this, the food can be traced back to the manufacturer with the help of product labelling. It helps in the case of a product recall.

Bizongo Hive Blog -  11 Commandments for Accurate Back of Pack Labelling
(Source: Jayinst)

How It Helps Customers:

If there is a complaint that the customer has regarding any product, he can mention the batch number as well. This will help the company in identifying the exact problem in that batch or if the product was damaged.

It also helps regulatory authorities. They can keep track of products and their manufacturers with the help of batch number/lot number.

9. Mention Retail Price

Retail price tells the customers the price of the product when they are about to purchase it.

How It Helps Customer:

Customers use this section to assess if the product is worth spending money or not.

Similar to Commandment #5, you should use a different size, colour, and font while writing down the price. It should be clearly visible for the customers after looking at the product for the first time.

Did You Know: Retail price has different terminology in different countries. In the UK it is called RRP while in India it is called MRP.

10. Mention Manufacturing/Packaging Date

This commandment helps in detecting the timeline of the product - when can it actually be consumed. You can do this by mentioning the expiry date or the ‘best before’ date.

How It Helps Customers:

This information helps customers in buying products that are still viable. They can easily avoid items that are old and past their validity.

Thus, mentioning these crucial dates helps the consumer to make intelligent purchases and consume the product consciously.

Did You Know: The expiry date tells the customer the last day a product is safe to eat/ drink. The ‘best before’ date, on the other hand, tells that after a particular day, the product is no longer in its best shape/ form. It can be safe to eat but would not taste as well due to a loss of aroma, freshness, colour.

11. Mention Instructions for Use

This guideline is for customers to understand how a particular food product can be used. If it needs to fried or boiled, instructions will be explaining the ideal way to consume it.

Bizongo Hive Blog -  11 Commandments for Accurate Back of Pack Labelling
Source: Empire Coffee Roaster
Creatively display the instructions to use on the back of pack for an easier read.

How It Helps Customers:

It’s not always clear as to which cooking method needs to be adopted. Maybe it needs to be microwaved or has to be boiled for two minutes. Maybe it needs to be fried for 5 minutes and then left to itself. Whatever the method, specific instructions will help customers prepare and taste your product which is actually the point, no?

Brands who are trying to launch a new product in the market - showcase an accurate set of instructions as it will add to the appeal of your product.If the customer can understand what is being written and finds it relatively easy, they are likely to make the purchase.

Pro Tip: Follow KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Complicating the instructions might cause you to lose customers.

Technology can help reduce the time spent on these repetitive tasks. Digitise proofing and launch your product faster.

Artwork Management For Back of Pack Labelling

Artwork management comes in handy when you want to make corrections and want to get things done as quickly as possible. In short, it helps to make a tedious process an easier one.

Here are some features to look for:

a) Effortless Verification Process

You can easily verify colour schemes and extract fonts from PDF files.

b) Easy Identification of Changes

Can instantly compare two versions of artwork - helps in identifying changes.

c) Accurately Mesaure Design Elements

An online ruler can assist in measuring the dimensions of logos, tables, barcodes and more.

d) Improves Quality Control

It acts as a steady framework of communication and collaboration between designers and business managers.

e) Leads to Faster Corrections

Artwork proofing tools help to verify specifications as per FSSAI regulations.

That’s why it’s always better to…

Worker Harder But Also Smarter

The regulations regarding the nutrition labels and other information on the back of pack labelling are mandatory. Food brands need to follow them scrupulously. The complexity of this work can add to the workload you already have, and thus, errors are prone to happen.

Therefore going digital is the key to avoiding possible mistakes and reducing your headache when it comes to back of pack labelling. This, in turn, helps in the product’s time-to-market due to faster packaging and a smoother backend process.

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